Erika Wheeler is a contract attorney at the Brandy Austin Law Firm. She works with clients on family law, wills, trusts, estate planning, and probate matters.
Erika graduated from St. Edward’s University (Austin, TX) in 2000 with a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies. By taking all sorts of fun extra classes, she found herself on track for the “five-year plan.” That extra year was worth it for the courses, which included Art History, German Culture, Japanese Culture, Russian History, Meditation, multiple Psychology courses (just shy of a minor in Psychology), and a class on the fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm.
During school, Erika was fortunate enough to make two trips to Germany with her paternal grandparents. Her grandfather immigrated to the United States from northern Germany when he was 10 years old. His family left a successful bakery behind in Germany and used those skills to eventually open a bakery in New Jersey. During these trips, they visited family historical sites (dating back to the 1660’s), met relatives and long-time family friends, and, of course, soaked up the beauty of Europe. As a second-generation American, it was important to Erika to establish this connection to her family’s history.
After graduation from St. Edward’s, Erika started her first career, which included administrative jobs in non-profit organizations, advertising, wholesale and warehousing, EBay consignment sales, and payroll sales. She has done everything from planning large events, trips, and meetings to shopping at the Dallas Cowboys Pro Shop to cleaning windows and vacuuming floors. Working in these roles allowed Erika to hone her customer service skills and gave her an awareness of the importance of every person in an organization.
In 2006, Erika married into an amazing family and became a wife, mom, and grandmother all in one day. Erika says she’s a bargain shopper and knew a great packaged deal when she saw it. After the wedding, Erika was lucky enough to live with her husband and her step-son and loved being a “Football Mom” from junior high through his college years. Those weekends when the house was full of kids playing video games and eating everything in the pantry are great memories now. So far, Erika’s two step kids have given them three grandkids, several “bonus” grandkids, and lots grand-dogs.
After her step-son went to college, Erika and her husband decided the time was right for her to return to school and pursue a second career. She enrolled in Texas A&M University School of Law (then Texas Wesleyan University School of Law) in Fort Worth, TX in 2012. During law school, Erika volunteered as a Student Ambassador, participated in the school’s pro bono trip to Costa Rica, and was a part of the Family Law and Benefits Clinic (now the Family Law and Veterans Advocacy Clinic). She also volunteered with the United Way’s VITA program, which provides assistance with preparing and filing income taxes to individuals and families who qualify at no cost. In law school, her favorite courses were Elder Law, Wills and Trusts, Family Law, Post-Conviction Actual Innocence, and Alternative Dispute Resolution. Working full-time and attending school part-time, Erika graduated from law school in 2016.
Erika was admitted to the State of Texas Bar in 2017. She worked with clients as a solo attorney before accepting a temporary, contract position with the Office of the Attorney General, Child Support Division. In that role, Erika reviewed pleadings that agency staff had prepared for court, assisted agency staff with questions of law and procedure, and worked on numerous special projects. This position gave Erika knowledge of the processes within the Child Support Division and has put her in a unique position to assist clients with their child support matters.
Erika’s personal experiences with the legal system through child support, questions of paternity, custody matters, CPS investigations, foster care, and adoption, as well as her experiences that have shown how helpful the law can be when facing matters of aging, disease, disability, and death, give her a unique point of view and understanding of the situations in which clients may find themselves. She has experienced many of the struggles and emotions that clients face, which allows her to empathize with their situation and work toward the best possible outcome for her clients.
Erika feels very fortunate to have joined the Brandy Austin Law Firm. She has found an amazing team that is focused on providing the best service to each client and truly sees clients as people and not as dollar signs. Here, she is grateful to have been able to put her personal experiences to good use for clients and sharpen her professional skills.
When not working, Erika and her husband, DeWayne, enjoy hitting the trails in their Jeeps. They’ve travelled to Utah, Colorado, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and around Texas to visit new parks and find new challenges (and new friends). They have a list of places still to visit, but Erika’s favorites trails are still the ones around Moab, Utah and Ouray, Colorado, particularly Hell’s Revenge in Moab. (You may have seen it featured in a commercial for the Kia Sorento.) Erika also loves to travel (NYC, the Canary Islands, Northern Ireland, Mexico, and all sorts of local trips), attend concerts (from Elton John to George Strait to Dropkick Murphy), watch movies (She is a sucker for Hallmark movies.) and Survivor (She’s only missed one episode since it debuted in 2000 and that one episode is why her now-husband installed DVR.), spend time with friends and loved ones, and take their dog, Declan (a 100 pound Golden Retriever – Irish Setter), to the dog park. She is always happy to show anyone photos and tell stories of Declan, their Jeeps, or Utah!
Texas A&M University School of Law, Fort Worth, TX, 2016
Family Law and Veterans Advocacy Clinic
Costa Rica Pro Bono Trip
St. Edward’s University, Austin, TX, 2000
B.A. in Religious Studies
Magna Cum Laude
University Honors Program